Two Years ago I was invited to a small cocktail party to learn about a new organization, the Alliance of Moms, that was starting in Los Angeles. Their mission was to help the pregnant and parenting foster youth of Los Angeles. We sat around a coffee table and listened to the founders tell us the astonishing statistics in our community and about a population of moms, who were going through the same parenting struggles as us with so many more obstacles. We all wanted to help some how. Being a mom can take a village and we wanted to bring that village to these girls.
Founded by five LA moms in 2014, the Alliance of Moms is a membership based auxiliary group that supports the work of the Alliance for Children’s Rights. Their mission is to break the intergenerational cycle of babies born to teens in foster care. Currently, 75% of girls in foster care are pregnant by the age of 21. Over 40% of babies born to youth in foster care will be detained in the first years of life. As parents ourselves, we feel a natural affinity for this vulnerable population and recognize that pregnant and parenting foster teens have not had the benefit of parenting role models. The Alliance of Moms create educational programs to empower these young moms and dads to become informed parents who can give their babies a healthier childhood than their own.
They offer their flagship program, Raising Baby, once a year. Each Raising Baby has an expert curriculum focused on infant care and early brain development. Foster teen parents participate in workshops while Alliance of Moms volunteers care for their children. On Saturday, September 24th over 100 LA mom volunteers for the Alliance of Moms came together to support 82 families at Raising Baby.
The volunteers of the Alliance gathered the day before to set up the event and were there at 8am to make sure everything was in place. Other volunteers of the Alliance picked up the moms and babies who did not have transportation. We all had a job and every job mattered.
The girls entered the Children’s Institute of Los Angeles at 9am. Some very nervous, as new experiences can be scary and some very excited to see the members of the Alliance who they may have met at other Alliance of Moms programs. The girls received binders upon entering that mapped out their day. Raising Baby 3 was designed around the importance of Early Brain Development. They had 3 workshops for the day and were separated by age of their children. The day started with a delicious breakfast provided by AmazeBowls and an inspirational speech by Kristen Bell.
I took time to watch each of these workshops this year. As the volunteer I sat with the children while the moms listened. The mothers also had the opportunity to let the children play with our volunteers and the volunteers from the Helpr App in the Toddler Play area. They had an indoor space and and outdoor space with water tables, art, drum sets and ball pits. If the babies needed a nap they also were provided with a Quiet Room which was sponsored by Munchkin and organized by Alliance of Moms volunteers.
The Cradle Company- Sleep and Early Attachment
The first workshop I sat in was with the Cradle Company. They taught the girls the importance of scheduling a baby. They gave the girls the floor to talk about their sleep struggles and offered advice for all of their questions. The workshop offered them so many valuable expert tips for feeding and making sure their baby was getting enough sleep. Some of the moms opened up and let the group know that they didn’t know the importance of going to sleep on time. Some of them have allowed their children to stay awake until after midnight, when they would fall asleep on their own. They asked questions about bottle feeding and breastfeeding. Their binders highlighted all the important information that they spoke about and so much more. They left the room chatting about their children and what they were going to do differently starting that night.
Talk, Read, Sing-
The second workshop I listened in on was Talk, Read, Sing with Dr. Dayna Long from Too Small to Fail. Dr. Dayna discussed with the girls that children begin discovering the world around them from the moment they are born. When you talk, read and sing to your child you are helping them learn. She gave tips to them on how to implement this into their home. She talked about the word gap. That a 3 year old in a low income household will have heard 30 million words less than a child in a higher income home. The girls were astonished and left the room saying that this wasn’t going to be their baby. They were empowered with knowledge and wanted to make a change.
The third workshop focused on self care for the mothers. As a mother we are often so focused on our home, our family, and our job that we can neglect ourselves. This workshop gave them important tools on how to balance it all.
The young fathers in attendance sat in a workshop lead by Jeffrey Williams from Project Fatherhood. He shared insights about the critical importance of the role of a father in the positive development of a child’s life.
From there, they went to an awesome jam session with Ashley from Creative Seeds. The kids partied away with their mothers!
Outside the jam session the kids could sit with Books and Cookies for a quite story time and the mothers could choose what books they wanted to take home and read to their children from The Book Foundation. Over 1000 books were provided to give away!
After a delicious lunch provided by Chipotle, and drinks by Suju, the families went outside with their children for a drum circle. The kids had so much fun playing with their moms and dads. Everyone was into it.
The day ended with an speech from our founders and an exciting giveway from Cybex. The girls lined up to leave and were given not one, but 3 amazing gift bags designed for the age of their little one.
The companies from the Raising Baby gift bags included-
- BEABA Babycook
- Dr. Jennifer Lang’s New Book the Whole Nine Months
- Munchkin Mist Wipe Warmer
- 2 Red Hens Coop Carry-All Diaper Bag
- AKID kids shoes
- Solly Baby Wrap Carrier
- Skip-Hop Stroller Bar Activity Toy
- Tubby Todd Everyday Lotion
- Baby Blanket Music CD
- Remo Kids Make Music Egg Shaker
- Goldpress Paper’s “You Got This Mama” card
- + a variety of products by the Honest Company, Silikids, The Book Foundation, Cherokee, MAM, b.box, and Smashbox
Being apart of the Alliance of Moms from the beginning has truly been amazing. Seeing the growth in the families who continue to come and learn for their children, and the growth and support of the women who continue to join the Alliance of Moms inspires me every day. Knowing that we are all families and we are all connected by our children drives my passion to help. We all have struggles as parents and relating and sharing these helps create our village. A village of women who continue to bring support to a community and their children.
A special Thank you to the sponsors who helped make this day possible
- Mini Maven
- Baby Box
- Beyond Yoga
- Ergo Baby
For more information on the Alliance of Moms or to join – http://allianceofmoms.org
For more ways to give back as a family check out my posts below!